header 1
header 2
header 3

Class of 1969 Discussions


Forum: Activism in the 21st Century


Reunion Dialog (--Matt Rinaldi)

Created on: 01/07/19 03:36 AM Views: 1828 Replies: 3
Reunion Dialog (--Matt Rinaldi)
Posted Monday, January 7, 2019 03:36 AM

After emails and phone calls with classmates, I want to post some ideas about a workshop at our reunion on politics and activism.

For a few months we have had what some call a sub-committee on the question of having a discussion at our reunion on the theme of Progressive Activism - What Can We Do Now?  There are classmates who have been involved in social activism since the sixties, and others who have been motivated to become active because of recent developments in the U.S. 

The range of concerns is huge...growing income inequality, pervasive racism, ongoing sexism, attacks on immigrants, homophobia, attacks on the judiciary and on unions, Islamophobia, climate change, the risk of nuclear war...any simple list here would be incomplete.  The range of activities within the progresive left is also huge, and many of us feel a need share ideas and to hear from classmates how they think and feel about the effectiveness of what they are doing or what they think needs to be done.

I know some people in are class do not feel this need.  Some of our classmates would like the reunion to be apolitical. Others feel that the times call out for all of us to be activists. I support a workshop among other workshops that would provide a space for those of us who want to talk about how to best use our energoes to accomplish progressive social change.

It is clear from the conversations so far that a "talking heads" seminar is not favored.  What many people recall fondly is the type of open, casual group conversations that we had at our 25th reunion.  As one of the "talking heads" at some prior reunions, I support a more casual dialog.  The problem with being a "talking head" is that one does not learn enough from the others in the conversation.  I think we all benefit from an interactive dialog where many experiences and ideas are shared.

Can we manage such a dialog?  If you have ideas and proposals, please share them.  You could respond here, or you could even consider joining  the organizing group!


Edited 01/12/19 05:14 AM
RE: Reunion Dialog (--Matt Rinaldi)
Posted Saturday, January 12, 2019 03:05 PM

Aha!  Found it!  I wasn't signed in.  OK....I think given our cuckoo times such a social/progressive forum could be very valuable....maybe a theme being, who wasn't active then, who's active now.  I figure I'm one of your more unlikely activists around...and figure there are many more of us.  One of the things am especially liking now is how many young, smart people I'm working with.    Just some thoughts.  Go, Matthew!





RE: Reunion Dialog (--Matt Rinaldi)
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 01:56 AM

Civic and political activism would be a great discussion during the reunion. We could share our current activities lighting our lives now. We can share ideas and examples of causes worth our time and effort. 

In my case, I’ve been spending the last year working with a local anti-nuclear weapons group in the state of Washington: The Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. It has been inspiring and energizing to work with young people and old lefties on trying to affect congressional policy on nuclear weapons. 

Our organization started a coalition in our state, with organizations signing onto the efforts of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). ICAN got over 100 countries in the UN to pass a treaty to abolish nuclear weapons. ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. The goal is to establish nuclear abolition as an international norm for nations’ behavior, to pressure the nuclear weapon possessing countries to decrease and eventually eliminate them. Our state coalition of over 40 civic organizations (Washington Against Nuclear Weapons) keep each other in touch to include our members in the activities and goals of each coalition organization. 

I think this model is one which would be great to discuss with other classmates who include political activism in their lives now, and may interest anyone looking for something meaningful to spend time working to make our world a safer place in these perilous times. 

RE: Reunion Dialog (--Matt Rinaldi)
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2019 09:49 AM

I agree with Matt, Terry and Joe that an activism session should be an integral part of the  Reunion. Terry has done some pretty unique stuff over the years on her city and state level that I think would interest many people. And I was fascinated to read what Joe is doing. I would like to hear more!

I'm thinking that a session in which we broke into small informal groups, the number depending on how many people come, might work well. Sort of the model for the women's breakfasts throughout the years. And leaving plenty of time at the end for the groups to tell a bit about what they discussed.

Myself, I've been working as a fundraiser for small non-profits dealing with minority groups here in Israel for a number of years. For the past seven years as resource developer for a Bedouin women's organization.